My Son Asks What a Maxi-pad Is

Another late poem, another poem about men/boys. Today at my house there were seven male teenagers playing air soft guns, while a few more watched the football game on the television. Go men! Go women! 


My Son Asks What a Maxi-pad Is

Bravo! I say when my middle school son regards the plump package
of overnights with wings on the counter
and is able to describe how pads
are both similar and different than diapers and band aids
to his little brother who suggested
I just go to the bathroom when I am bleeding.

The bro in the know adds, it’s not like peeing,
“and she’ll be crazy for days before.”
The feminist in me wants to refute him,
but it is true, premenstrual, I pick a fight with my lover,
bemoan my calling as I writer,
I tell these boys to pick up their socks with added fervor,
slam instead of place dirty dishes in the sink.

I laud my elder son’s knowledge,
garnered from health class, am touched by his sensitivity,
already aware of not only females’ bodies, but their burdens as well.
What a good partner he’ll be!
Buying Tampax and ice cream at midnight!
Rubbing her aching feet and lower back!

I think of my grown boys, men who do all the above,
who refer to their partner’s menses as “her moon"
and cancel dinner plans when their sweeties are cramping.
Ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix, milk ducts
are balanced by compassion. Understanding is ballast
mooring the simpler hardware of testicles, penis and prostrate.

When I tell the youngest brother
I would be in the bathroom for three or four days
if I didn’t wear a pad, that bleeding is a slow trickle,
a steady unscripted flow,
he announces when his future girlfriend has her period,
he’ll just skip the whole thing,
“I’ll go do stuff” he insists.
“You’ll go do stuff for almost a week” I challenge.
Yes he answers and I don’t argue,
envious that in reality he could.

I hope he falls in love with someone
with endometriosis, may she have monthly migraines.
May they suffer infertility,
he'll have his sperm counted and concentrated,
pray for her ovulation,
track his woman's temperature, her mucus, her moods,
may they conceive a child,
just one, precious, a daughter.